Your Legal Rights Following a Spinal Cord Injury

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Your Legal Rights Following a Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury can turn your world upside down. At JMW, we understand the immense physical and emotional toll that spinal injuries can take on individuals and their families. That's why it's important to be well-informed about your legal rights in these trying times. In this blog post, we'll guide you through what you need to know about spinal cord injuries and the legal options available to you.

Immediate Steps to Take

If you or someone you know has suffered a spinal cord injury, time is of the essence. Naturally, the first step is to get medical help as soon as possible. This isn't just important for health reasons; which is clearly;y the priority but, in addition, your medical records will also be vital if you decide to make a legal claim later on.

While the injured person will be in hospital, there are things the family or friends can do to help. Such as gathering as much information about the incident as you can. This could include asking family to take photos of the accident scene, collecting contact information from any witnesses, and noting down the circumstances that led to the injury. These details may prove invaluable when you're making a legal claim. Your solicitor can then speak to people while their memories are fresh.

Remember to report the incident to the authorities or relevant parties. Whether it's a car accident or a fall at work, making an official report can provide additional evidence to support your case in the future.

Lastly, it's advisable to keep all documents, receipts, records of medical treatments, travel costs, and any other expenses related to your injury. You'll need these if you decide to pursue a spinal cord injury claim.

When you're dealing with a spinal cord injury, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Between medical treatments, adjustments to daily life, and emotional strain, you might not even consider your legal rights. However, understanding these rights can make a world of difference in your recovery and your immediate and longer-term financial wellbeing.

First off, you have the right to claim compensation if someone else's negligence led to your injury. This could be a negligent driver, an unsafe work environment, or a slip and fall due to poorly maintained premises. Compensation can help cover your medical bills, loss of earnings, and even provide for the pain and suffering caused. If you aren’t sure we can discuss and advise you about the prospects of success.

You also have the right to enhanced or private medical care and treatment, including rehabilitation services that may help improve your recovery This is critical for your long-term outcome following injury.

It's also worth noting that you have the right to legal representation. Seeking advice from a legal expert can help make the complicated process of making a claim easier, ensuring that you're adequately compensated for your injury. If you're unsure about how to proceed, it's always a good idea to consult with a legal professional who can guide you through your options.

Understanding your legal rights is not just about seeking compensation; it's about gaining the resources and support you need to focus on what's most important - your recovery. We will hold your hand throughout all these processes.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury Claim?

A spinal cord injury claim is a legal action you can take if you've suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else's fault or negligence. In simpler terms, if you've been injured and it wasn't your fault, you can ask for money to cover your losses and expenses. This could include anything from medical bills and rehabilitation costs to loss of earnings if you're unable to work. The largest items to consider include the cost of care, support, accommodation, equipment and therapies.

Compensation for an accident to 'put you back' as close as possible to the position you were in before the injury and help you rebuild your life. Of course, no amount of money can truly make up for what has happened, but compensation can ease the financial burden and help you access the care and support you need for your recovery.

Bringing a legal claim and court proceedings can be a complex process, but understanding what it involves can be the first step towards getting the financial help you need after a spinal cord injury.

The Claims Process

Making a claim for a spinal cord injury might sound daunting, but it's mainly a series of steps designed to get you the financial support you need. Here's how it usually works:

  1. Initial consultation: the first thing to do is to speak with a legal expert about your case. They can tell you if you've got a good chance of winning a claim. This first chat is often free.
  2. Collect evidence: Next, your solicitor will work to gather all the evidence that proves your injury was someone else's fault. This could include medical records, documents and evidence from the police, or other investigating authorities. We will also seek CCTV and photos of the accident and witness statements.
  3. Submit the claim: once all the evidence is collected, and the correct defendant and their insurer are identified, your lawyer will formally submit your claim to the responsible party or their insurance company. This is done through an official letter of claim.
  4. Rehabilitation – after this, in many cases, your solicitor will work to obtain funds to improve your rehabilitation and provide for immediate needs post spinal cord injury like wheelchairs, mobility aids, care and accessible accommodation
  5. Evidence- much of the skill of bringing a claim is the attention to detail for every single aspect of the injury, your life and future needs and to get an appropriate valuation. This is where a specialist and experienced SCI will really add value. This is the main part of the claim and can take a few years to complete as it runs hand in hand with your rehab. This is highly complex and important to ensure your case is presented uniquely reflecting your own situation past, present and future needs. It is a mixture of documents, expert reports and witness statements. 
  6. Negotiation: at some stage, the other side may offer to settle. This means they'll offer you a sum of money to close the case. Your lawyer will advise you on whether the offer is fair or not. It can happen early but is mainly a discussion had on an agreed date where both sides meet in a round table meeting.
  7. Court proceedings: if a fair settlement can't be reached, or if there are legal issues where there is a genuine dispute about whether the defendant was at fault for your injury or on some other point your case might go to court. Starting court proceedings is quite common but most cases settle before they end up at a Trial before a judge, by agreement.
  8. Settlement or judgment: finally, your claim will either result in a settlement, which is an agreed amount of money paid to you, or a court judgment. A judgment means the court decides the issues in the case and whether/ how much compensation is payable – this is based on the evidence.
  9. Receive compensation: once everything is settled or the court has made a decision, you'll receive your compensation. You will be advised about investment before settlement. Some settlements are for a lump sum. Others have part lump sum and care paid for by annual payments for life known as Periodical Payment Orders.

Understanding the claims process can make it a lot less intimidating and help you take the steps needed to get the financial support you deserve.

Talk to Us

If you would like advice on spinal injury claims, our team is happy to help. Contact us today on 0345 872 6666 or fill in our online contact form and someone will get back to you to discuss your case.

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